Born April 5, 1895, in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania.
Son of Samuel F. and Edith Corlies Houston. Educated Chestnut Hill Academy and University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1916. Battery "C," State Guard. Mexican Border, 1916. Joined American Field Service, January 8, 1917 attached Section Twelve. French Officers' Automobile School, Meaux. Chef Adjoint, Transport Section 133 to July 30, 1917. Croix de Guerre, Returned to America. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, Aide, Commanding General's Staff, 53d Artillery Brigade. Trained Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as flying observer. First Lieutenant, U. S. Field Artillery, 28th Division. Killed by shell, August 18, 1918, near Arcis-le-Ponsart, Marne. Buried Suresnes, Seine.
ONE of the truest things which can be said of Henry Houston is that no matter where his duty lay he gave himself always with whole heartedness, self-effacement and loyalty. A member of Section Twelve from its beginning, he rendered faithful and courageous service on -the Verdun front during the winter and spring of 1917, for which he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre by the 132nd Division of French Infantry on April 15th of that year. Early in May he was selected as one of the first group of fifteen men, mostly heads of sections, to be sent to the French Officers' Training School at Meaux. Upon completion of this course, at a time when too many volunteers were considering where they preferred to serve rather than where their services were needed, he placed himself unconditionally at the disposal of the Field Service Headquarters to be assigned as they saw fit, and as head of a camion section, T. M. U. 133, he proved himself a wise and devoted officer.
In August, 1917, he resigned his command under the Field Service and returned to America to accept a commission as aide on the staff of General William G. Price, Jr., commanding the 53rd Artillery Brigade. It was with this brigade that he had served on the Mexican border, immediately after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, during the summer and fall of 1916, in the First Pennsylvania Field Artillery (107th U. S. F. A.), and of which he had written while in the camion service: "I still have hankerings toward the artillery,--- first loves are strongest, you know."
He took up the new task with a determination to use to the utmost his rare advantage of previous military service with the brigade and six months' experience with the armies at the front. How well he succeeded is evidenced by the following quotation from a letter written by General Price: "Rejoining his old brigade, he brought with him a deep knowledge of conditions of service in France, which was of inestimable value to the brigade in its preparations for service there. To me personally he was of great comfort and assistance; his services during the training period, lecturing on subjects which came under his observation prior to the United States' entry into war, and during his aerial training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from which he graduated as a flying observer, were of great value."
During the long, anxious months of training, both in America and France, the example of his never failing cheerfulness and devotion to duty helped many a fellow officer or enlisted man over the pitfalls and discouragements inevitable in the building up of a successful fighting unit, and thus affected in no small degree the morale of the entire brigade. The fact that his name was chosen for the American Legion Post at Germantown, Pennsylvania, the second largest post in the state, is a proof of the esteem in which his comrades held him. He was killed on August 18th, 1918, near Arcis le Ponsart, having volunteered to go to a position near the lines to give instructions regarding the proper liaison between the air forces and batteries.
Of his death General Price writes: "As his commanding officer I can not find words to express the sense of loss we all felt, the realization by all of his sterling worth, his value as an officer and his promised value as a citizen. Thoughtful, unselfish, kind and brave, he died as I believe he would, could he have chosen, facing the enemy in battle, fearless and with a sublime confidence in the future life which his associates well knew he had.
"Thus he died, a Christian gentleman, a soldier who loved humanity, his country, and his God."
Entered the service from Pennsylvania.
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